Victims’ advocates warn about new ‘Benadryl Cocktail’ rape drug

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CLEVELAND -- Sexual predators have used a number of drugs to attack their victims.

Now predators have begun using a common over the counter medicine to incapacitate adults and children, prompting a warning from victims advocates.

It’s called the “Benadryl Cocktail,” said Teresa Stafford, senior director of victims services and outreach at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

The liquid version of the popular allergy medicine is slipped into drinks and then given to the unsuspecting victims. It's sometimes done by strangers, but more often than not by friends and/or acquaintances.

“Could be a boyfriend, could be a best friend, someone they had a trusting relationship with,” Stafford said. "We hear people say ... I had this one drink and I felt really sick I felt light-headed right away and I felt dizzy.”

In 2005, Bill Cosby admitted to using the drug on a woman, and numerous other cases have also surfaced.

Previously, the active ingredients were hard to detect, but now hospital rape kits can determine if a person was drugged with Benadryl or any generic brand.

Stafford advises people to watch their drinks, never leave them unattended and throw it away if the beverage tastes funny or seems off.

“Trust your gut instincts," she said.

She also recommends friends have a plan to arrive and leave together, and to always check on each other throughout the night.